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GUEST COMMENT 2022 Singles Day: what brands and retailers need to know

Image: Adobe Stock
Elena Gatti is managing director of Azoya Europe

After 618 came to an end a couple of months ago, brands and retailers started shifting their attention to the next major promotional online festival in China – Single’s Day.

For many brands, Singles Day is an enormously effective promotion campaign for driving high conversion rates. Therefore, it is necessary to be clear about the rhythm of the campaign, understand the marketing trends, and prepare systematically and thoroughly before the campaign starts.

When do brands need to start preparing for Singles Day?

First, brands must remember to register for the Singles Day campaign on each ecommerce platform. Although there are still more than three months before Singles Day, not every brand can participate in this event.

The warm-up for the campaign usually starts in October, and the registration time is usually around August. If the registration time is missed, the brand will not have the opportunity to participate in Singles Day.

Secondly, for the brands, to participate in the Singles Day promotion activity, they will need to apply to the Tmall platform and receive the promotion rules. Tmall will supervise and audit qualifications in these shops. Each authorised shop will get a Double 11 mark for their shop and goods to let customers know.

Last, since the whole process of the Singles Day campaign is divided into several stages, such as deposit payment, pre-sale, official sale, and final payment, brands need to do a lot of preparation before officially participating in Singles Day.

In addition to the qualification certification of the store, they also need to consider the budget, online and offline promotion costs, KOL (key opinion leader) promotion costs, customer service preparation, logistics, product inventory, livestream opportunities, etc.

How do brands need to prepare their marketing strategies?

The ecommerce ecology in China is quite split. Online customers’ daily shopping behavior and screen hours become increasingly scattered – customers are active on multiple platforms to search and buy products from different categories. 

This means that brands should consider adopting a multichannel approach to China customers. When customer traffic to a brand becomes fragmented, brands cannot only rely on a single sales channel or social media platform to achieve marketing and sales purposes.

In addition, Chinese people increasingly depend on social media platforms as a place to share their opinions, ask for product advice and connect with others. According to the Little Red Book official report, over 69% of users rate the content as authentic, and 64% rate the recommendations as accurate. The platform users are accustomed to researching product views on Little Red Book before making a purchase decision.

So many brands will advertise on different social media platforms before Singles’ Day, or work with KOLs to increase brand exposure and awareness. Build word-of-mouth influence through KOLs.

However, it’s crucial to negotiate and confirm Influencers in advance because once the holiday season approaches, many Influencers don’t have an available time slot to schedule. 

According to the Weiboyi report, brands generally start to launch influencer marketing two months before Singles Day, and mid-to-late September is the point where brands start to focus on Singles Day advertising.

As Singles Day becomes longer, retailers and brands should consider it a ‘shopping season’ instead of a ‘shopping day’, and marketing strategy requires more flexible plans with a suite of approaches.

Nowadays, the Singles Day campaign is often divided into three stages: pre-heat, pre-sale, and official sale. Brand owners can use the feedback from the pre-heat consumption data to adjust the merchandise strategy for the official phase in time, and then increase the advertising investment.

Of course, this is also a more diverse test of the brand owner’s capabilities. Including brand marketing ability, data analysis ability, ecommerce team operation ability, and the whole Singles Day marketing strategy, these are the factors that determine the success of the brand on Singles Day or not.

So, Singles Day’s long-term marketing investment will be normalised, and preparation before the campaign is crucial.

What are the main trends for Singles Day this year?

Livestreaming continues to drive sales across the board

As social commerce becomes increasingly entrenched in mainland China, livestreaming has become a backbone of the influencer and ecommerce economy. According to public statistics, the total GMV of the livestreaming ecommerce segment during Singles Day last year reached 131.86 billion yuan, up 80.9% year on year.

We predict that this year’s Singles Day brand owners will also focus on investment in the marketing field through livestreaming and short videos. On the one hand, the platform needs this type of content to increase traffic. In addition, this type of content is rich in form and can support brand owners to do innovative communication and youthful marketing.

Brand self-livestreaming continues to grow

After the two top anchors of Taobao were absent one after another this year due to accidents, brand-owned livestreaming is rising fast and will maintain high growth in the foreseeable range.

According to statistics from Taobao, more than 100,000 brands held self-livestreaming sessions on Singles Day last year to interact with customers.

So, what are the advantages of branded self-livestreaming compared to working with anchors?

Firstly, brands have greater control over the whole process of their livestreaming campaigns and can arrange the process at their own rhythm. Also, brands do not have to pay high cooperation and commission fees, so the costs can be controlled and profits can also be higher.

Secondly, brand self-livestreaming is good for building customer loyalty. Brands can tell from the data on livestreaming campaign participants to see who are their high-value customers, and can plan subsequent campaigns to engage with those customers to build long-term relationships.

Anchors who do livestreaming pay more attention to products, discounts and cost-effectiveness, which are oriented to sales performance. However, brand self-livestreaming emphasizes in-depth explanations of the brand, interactions, and creating the audience’s brand awareness, which offers different functionalities.

Douyin might be the next dark horse

In this year’s 618 shopping festival, ecommerce on Douyin [the TikTok app for China] far exceeded everyone’s expectations. According to Douyin ecommerce data, from June 1 to 18, Douyin’s livestream during 618 periods totalled 40.45m hours, an impressive increase of 97% YoY.

Behind the good 618 results, Douyin has won several premium beauty brands.

On May 13, the internationally renowned beauty brand Lancôme officially launched on Douyin. Within a month of opening, Lancôme sold goods worth more than 1m yuan ($150,000 US) in 10 days and saw 10m yuan ($1.5 million US) in cumulative sales.

As a high-end cosmetic brand within the L’Oréal Group, Lancôme is a global beauty industry trendsetter. Lancôme’s launch indicates that international premium brands will set off a new storm with Douyin ecommerce.

More and more people are also looking forward to the performance of Douyin in this year’s Singles Day campaign.

Download this 2022 Singles Day infographic to find out more.

Elena Gatti is managing director of Azoya Europe

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